Teen Depression


Sandra Dodd
 

(sent for anonymous posting)

I’ve been reading—a LOT—at your site lately, with a heavy focus on happiness and peace.  I’m trying to keep my head up as my oldest (18) takes another tour through depression.  There have been so many quotes in different places where I have this vague “*that*—we don’t have THAT,” or “this isn’t happening over here…,” always in an ephemeral, can’t quite nail it down kind of way.  But today I read on the radical unschooling FB group a quote (from a few weeks back, from Jo Isaac, to a mom who wrote in):  “Is she happy?  Is she thriving?”  And I thought, THAT!  That’s it.  No.  No, he’s not.


So if I can pose a question to the Always Learning group (honestly, I might have asked before…..I know I’ve sought answers in various places over the years; I don’t THINK I’ve asked here):  How do you unschool a teen through depression?  When so little lights them up and interests them; when there’s so little they’re passionate about?  When I hear (repeatedly) how exercise will help, but I can’t force him to exercise?  (Or get outside in the sunshine—another example.)

We do still have a truly good relationship—I’m the soft spot for him to land in all this, and I’m grateful that he’s willing to open up to me and thankful I can be there for him through all the yuck.  But I want to do more to help than simply be a steadying presence (even if that is a good thing to be).  I want to help bring him back to enjoying life, if that’s possible.

Brief answers to potential questions: yes, he’s on meds; no, hasn’t seen a counselor in awhile (tho he used to); and there are two younger siblings who are thriving (which I sometimes think makes things worse, as he watches them have so much fun in their days).

Any thoughts?

________________ end of quote; reminder that it's another mom, not my own question _______________________


Sandra Dodd
 

I thought there was another reply to this.

Also, I was hoping lots of you had current ideas about the particular problems of teens during covid closures and lock-downs.  Hoping for a pile of ideas.

 

Here I am with no pile of ideas myself, but please, if you read this, and have ANY suggestions for the mom with the question, put them out here.

I've come across some writing by Caren Knox that involves depression, and levels, and layers, so I'm leaving a link.

https://sandradodd.com/sarcasm

It says sarcasm, and that's what brought the question up, but it's about positivity and mental health, and could by helpful.

There are some links on that page, too, to other ideas from other days, about depression and mental health (not just lack-of-mental-illness, but *health*).

 

I don't know how teens are surviving months turning to years of a lack of availability of lots of other people their age.  MAYBE it would help to let them know that it is very normal and natural for people of that age to want to be with others like themselves, and let them know that you wish things were otherwise, and safer, and more open.   

Anything about stages of human development might be interesting to at least point at, and name—not as "a topic," or a unit, but maybe having a list on the kitchen table or taped in the bathroom, or just out, lightly available for a while.  Younger kids might be interested, too.  (If they're not, don't push it.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erikson%27s_stages_of_psychosocial_development

or if you want to look at some graphic layouts of all that, https://www.google.com/search?q=erikson%27s+stages+of+psychosocial+development&sxsrf=APq-WBvS8z7GBJ1Wna2SfNClpX5kWm5DNA:1644467788938&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=2ahUKEwi_sZ3zp_T1AhUwzoUKHc6oDpwQ_AUoAXoECAEQAw&biw=1440&bih=713&dpr=2

There are also Piaget's, which are more about cognition and awareness (maybe) than about interpersonals.  Same ideas, different angle, perhaps.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piaget%27s_theory_of_cognitive_development#:~:text=to%20figurative%20intelligence.-,Four%20stages%20of%20development,stage%2C%20and%20formal%20operational%20stage.

 

Sandra

 


Katie Robles
 

I think it was mine, and somehow I sent it wrong. 

When I saw this post come through I really hoped people would have replies, as my 14 year old has had what sounds like similar experiences. 
 
The only thought I have to share is sometimes medication changes can help. We've made adjustments to my daughter's depression and anxiety medications twice with better results each time.  

My daughter's mental health needs predate covid, but I see the isolation affecting my other kids.

Our area has very lax regulations, but we try to maintain the kids' friendships with video calls and texting but also by having different friends over to hang out on our back porch/back yard every couple of weeks.  
 


Julia Norcross
 

I do not have teens but I am familiar with depression. From an energetic perspective, depression is an overload of emotions in the heartspace that haven't been processed. Big relief and clearing can come when these unconscious places are more fully witnessed. You mentioned that he wasn't in therapy currently and I wonder if that might be revisited? A therapist who specializes in Internal Family Systems if that is possible and/or resonates. Another hugely helpful tool if he is up for it is to journal. Tune into the body and journal from the places that are painful to talk about, completely uncensored. 

Warmly, 

Julia

On Wed, Feb 9, 2022 at 8:38 PM Sandra Dodd <aelflaed@...> wrote:

I thought there was another reply to this.

Also, I was hoping lots of you had current ideas about the particular problems of teens during covid closures and lock-downs.  Hoping for a pile of ideas.

 

Here I am with no pile of ideas myself, but please, if you read this, and have ANY suggestions for the mom with the question, put them out here.

I've come across some writing by Caren Knox that involves depression, and levels, and layers, so I'm leaving a link.

https://sandradodd.com/sarcasm

It says sarcasm, and that's what brought the question up, but it's about positivity and mental health, and could by helpful.

There are some links on that page, too, to other ideas from other days, about depression and mental health (not just lack-of-mental-illness, but *health*).

 

I don't know how teens are surviving months turning to years of a lack of availability of lots of other people their age.  MAYBE it would help to let them know that it is very normal and natural for people of that age to want to be with others like themselves, and let them know that you wish things were otherwise, and safer, and more open.   

Anything about stages of human development might be interesting to at least point at, and name—not as "a topic," or a unit, but maybe having a list on the kitchen table or taped in the bathroom, or just out, lightly available for a while.  Younger kids might be interested, too.  (If they're not, don't push it.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erikson%27s_stages_of_psychosocial_development

or if you want to look at some graphic layouts of all that, https://www.google.com/search?q=erikson%27s+stages+of+psychosocial+development&sxsrf=APq-WBvS8z7GBJ1Wna2SfNClpX5kWm5DNA:1644467788938&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=2ahUKEwi_sZ3zp_T1AhUwzoUKHc6oDpwQ_AUoAXoECAEQAw&biw=1440&bih=713&dpr=2

There are also Piaget's, which are more about cognition and awareness (maybe) than about interpersonals.  Same ideas, different angle, perhaps.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piaget%27s_theory_of_cognitive_development#:~:text=to%20figurative%20intelligence.-,Four%20stages%20of%20development,stage%2C%20and%20formal%20operational%20stage.

 

Sandra

 


Regan
 

Hi,

There is a bit of fretfulness coming through in the original post.
It will help to notice and let go of any tautness or negativity. When I do that, I’m much more likely to be helpful to others than if I’m agitated myself.

We can’t ‘make’ it better for others, but we can help - starting with being well-centred and present ourselves. From there, we bring more openness, more warmth, creativity, more fun. We listen better, empathise better and understand better. It makes it easier for those around us to find their own peace and flow.

Sometimes, especially for teens, frustration or sorrow or other difficult emotions intensify in the absence of a really safe place for them to be seen and accepted. When parents provide a calm place of acceptance for kids, kids can find their emotions and circumstances much easier to accept and live with themselves.

My recommendation would be to live as calm and present as you can - let go of expectations, let go of getting caught up with fears, let go of thoughts of control - be your own calm, flowing self.
These links have lots of wonderful insights:
https://sandradodd.com/peace/becoming
https://sandradodd.com/breathing

Debbie

On 7 Feb 2022, at 12:41 pm, Sandra Dodd <AlwaysLearning+owner@groups.io> wrote:

(sent for anonymous posting)

I’ve been reading—a LOT—at your site lately, with a heavy focus on happiness and peace. I’m trying to keep my head up as my oldest (18) takes another tour through depression. There have been so many quotes in different places where I have this vague “*that*—we don’t have THAT,” or “this isn’t happening over here…,” always in an ephemeral, can’t quite nail it down kind of way. But today I read on the radical unschooling FB group a quote (from a few weeks back, from Jo Isaac, to a mom who wrote in): “Is she happy? Is she thriving?” And I thought, THAT! That’s it. No. No, he’s not.


So if I can pose a question to the Always Learning group (honestly, I might have asked before…..I know I’ve sought answers in various places over the years; I don’t THINK I’ve asked here): How do you unschool a teen through depression? When so little lights them up and interests them; when there’s so little they’re passionate about? When I hear (repeatedly) how exercise will help, but I can’t force him to exercise? (Or get outside in the sunshine—another example.)

We do still have a truly good relationship—I’m the soft spot for him to land in all this, and I’m grateful that he’s willing to open up to me and thankful I can be there for him through all the yuck. But I want to do more to help than simply be a steadying presence (even if that is a good thing to be). I want to help bring him back to enjoying life, if that’s possible.

Brief answers to potential questions: yes, he’s on meds; no, hasn’t seen a counselor in awhile (tho he used to); and there are two younger siblings who are thriving (which I sometimes think makes things worse, as he watches them have so much fun in their days).

Any thoughts?

________________ end of quote; reminder that it's another mom, not my own question _______________________


Karen James
 

All three of us (me, my husband, and our son) have lived with and through varying depression.  Our son's hasn't been deep, but it was consistently present during the early part of his teens.  As a child, he always had very big expressions of emotion, whether that be sadness, frustration, or joy, so I did pay attention to his bout of melancholy, in case he needed extra help.  It did pass, thankfully.  He didn't need medication.  My husband said that he (himself) had some depression as a developing young man as well. 

The way we approached it with our son was to consistently let him know that we were there, that we loved him very much, that we understood what he was feeling, and that we supported whatever he needed.  We didn't try to fix him.  We did, however, try to bring as much joy, peripherally, into our home as we could (while trying not to be a nuisance).  It was a little stressful for me, truthfully, but I tried to keep that to myself.
 
Some things that seem to help us all...

For all three of us, with depression, distraction helps--finding things to keep us busy and/or keep our minds looking at something other than whatever is bringing us down.  For my husband, it's music.  He plays guitar and listens to music.  When he's down, he makes a point of listening to and playing lively, upbeat, energetic music.  Working on a new project helps my husband too.  For me, making things helps distract me from my feelings of melancholy.  I especially find patterns and repetition meditatively soothing so I look for things to make that have that component.  I also like watching shows.  I make sure not to watch shows that will contribute to my feelings of sadness.  Comedies help.  Shows that I've seen and enjoyed before help too.  For our son it's small challenges like playing a new game or modding an existing game.  
 
Walking helps us all.  I like to run on the treadmill too.
 
Getting together with friends helps.  It has been harder with Covid, but we have managed to do things masked, outdoors, which has been nice.  Ethan also plays games online with a friend or two most evenings.  
 
In the afternoons right now, my son and husband like to eat lunch and watch video game tournaments together.  It's a routine they've established and it seems to bring a bright spot to their days.  I feel like despite the challenges of Covid, this will be something they will look back on fondly in the future.  Routines seem to help.  They give a reliable flow to the day, and we each seem to feel comforted by that--Ethan and Doug (my husband) more than myself.
 
Comfort food helps.  
 
Even though we live in California, we do spend a lot of time indoors.  A Vitamin D supplement seems to prove very helpful to ease depression (and anxiety, for me) too.
 
***But today I read on the radical unschooling FB group a quote (from a few weeks back, from Jo Isaac, to a mom who wrote in):  “Is she happy?  Is she thriving?”  And I thought, THAT!  That’s it.  No.  No, he’s not.***
 
I've found that, for all of us, any pressure to be happy and thrive when we're feeling low doesn't help at all, whether it be internal pressure or pressure from outside.  In fact, sometimes it makes things worse.  What helps is knowing/remembering that it's okay to coast a bit when things are hard.  It's okay to not strive for more when our energy and motivation are barely enough to do the minimum.  Gentle encouragement, soft uplifting actions and kind, loving words seem to help.  Something light to look forward to seems to help too.   
 
What does your son enjoy?  It could be very simple--a favourite food, a certain kind of lighting, a colour (maybe you could paint a wall), a texture (soft pillows or blankets or socks), sounds.  Gently brings more of whatever he enjoys into his life.  Sit with him.  Play games with him if he'd enjoy that.  Watch videos with him.  Share food with him.  Try to stay calm and present.  Bring little wonders into the home, maybe.  Our son likes that still (he's 19 now).  Share with him stories/things about yourself.  Let him know he's not alone.
 
***There have been so many quotes in different places where I have this vague “*that*—we don’t have THAT,” or “this isn’t happening over here***   
 
I've found, personally, the surest way of getting myself into a depressed or anxious state is to start comparing myself to others.  When I'm feeling low, I actually stop looking at what others are doing, and focus more on what I can do in the moment.  I actively look for the value in my own humble pursuits.  I'm very introverted.  I don't have big goals for myself.  I'm easily satisfied by simple pleasures and pursuits.  In a world that seems to place a high value on exuberance and accomplishment, sometimes I find I need to take some time to remember to appreciate these quiet things about myself, otherwise I start feeling less-than and a bit like a failure.
 
See what your son *is* doing.  Celebrate who your son is in every moment, even when it looks like not much is happening.  Quiet people have a lot to contribute.  Maybe you and/or he would enjoy the book "Quiet" by Susan Cain.  She has a nice TED talk. 
 
You might find Sandra's page on introverts useful too:

https://sandradodd.com/introvert

Karen James


belinda dutch
 

I wish I had more to offer, but I ran this past my 18yo unschooled-till-recently daughter to get her take on it as she has had some mental health obstacles of her own. I think her words are potentially helpful so I’ll share them here.

Her first and main thought was that if one perceives that the happiness of another person is depending on your own happiness, the pressure is huge and debilitating. She thinks that seeing the mum enjoying the other children and enjoying herself will be a relief to the eldest, not an insult. That the mum will do everyone a favour by keeping a light touch and enjoying life as much as possible.

But this came with the caveat that she is also paying attention and doing small sweet things without pressure. She said ‘if he likes pink lady apples for example then get those ones and pop one on his bedside table, but don’t ask him if he enjoyed it - just notice if he ate it’

She also said it really helps if your environment is nice so for the mum to pop in and tidy up gently (with permission) and put stuff away or light  candles while chatting lightly and not talking about what she’s doing very much. Or maybe just popping in saying ‘I miss hanging out with you sometimes, can I just watch my program/do my knitting/eat my lunch etc in your room?’ might be nice.

And i know the poster was looking for more, for ideas to make it better, but my daughter was adamant that a mum can’t fix the depression, just be a good partner and give it time, and quietly look out for people who might be in a better position to help. Though there might not be anyone who can do more than what you are already doing.


Belinda






Sadie Bugni
 

I’m not sure I’m replying in the correct format, being on my phone, but I’d like to share a few things that have helped us.

Exercise and outdoors are great and helpful, but when in a funk, they require effort and energy that may not be there. I’ve actually been making conscious effort to do little things myself, the last week or so, because I can fall into a depression mindset. It always seems to be worse after sickness runs through our house.

I share that because your son may be able to get in front of it if he can start to recognize when it’s worse. My daughter has started keeping a lose journal to help her figure out what makes hers worse, but more importantly, what makes it better.

A few things that have helped are things that require little or no real effort/participation. I know these may not all be helpful to a teen boy, but we have a large family, and there are things that have unexpectedly brought one person joy even though it was intended for someone else.

Favorite music, playing in the background is so simple.
Grabbing a drink, for me it’s coffee, from Starbucks or soda from McDonalds.
Buy things to create your favorite drinks at home-bubble tea, coffees, shakes
Trying a new recipe (we eat, so might as well make it fun).
Sometimes we pick a country and try fun snacks from Amazon, drinks, recipes, crafts, etc from that country over a weekend. Don’t expect him to participate in prep unless it’s something he enjoys, but share with him.
Send cute or funny memes to each other.
Just *be* near him, without any expectations of interaction.
Open up the curtains to let as much natural light in as possible.
Grill out, even if it’s chilly.
Favorite movies
Have fresh flowers in a vase
Happiness journal-verbal, mental, or written. Try to think of 2-3 things each day that made you happy.
Stretching. Not a big yoga session, but just stretching where you are.
Light scented candles throughout the house.
Hang up some different old pics on the fridge.
Drink water, with or without fruit added to give it a twist.
Having Fitbits have helped us to see progress in things like activity, water consumption, and sleep patterns even if minimal. Make sure to set the device to realistic goals though, or it can have the opposite effect.

Depression is tough. Keep being his safe landing 🥰

Warmly,
Sadie Bugni


Sandra Dodd
 

On Thu, Feb 10, 2022 at 11:59 AM, Regan wrote:
These links have lots of wonderful insights:
https://sandradodd.com/peace/becoming
https://sandradodd.com/breathing

Thanks, Debbie!  

To anyone who clicked one of those links and thought "this page is a mess," you go there during the time I rushed in to "narrow" them.

For years I spread my pages out, one or two columns wide, like a California-King-sized bed.  Vlad has given me the code charms to make them work well for people only using phones, but each page needs its own clean-up and photo stabilizing and blah blahdy blah blah.   

They should both be clean and useful now, and I'm glad Debbie thought of them and brought them.

 

Sandra

 

"These links have lots of wonderful insights: "
https://sandradodd.com/peace/becoming
https://sandradodd.com/breathing  

 
--
(If this doesn't look like Sandra Dodd's e-mail, it is one.  "AElflaed" is my medieval-studies/SCA name.)


Sandra Dodd
 

Sadie Bugni, this is sweet:

 

"Depression is tough. Keep being his safe landing  "

Thanks to all who have brought ideas, and I hope others will, too.  There were lots of good ones.

A few thoughts came to me that were suggested by comments above, or that reminded me somehow:

Hearing happy sounds outside can be good.  If the other kids are happy, and the mom is singing or humming or joking or laughing, and if I were in a dark room brooding, it would make me feel better.   Don't think that just because the person doesn't pop out and join in the revelry that it wasn't brightening his periphery.

Also, though this topic isn't as commonly "out there" as it used to be, for the mom:  Maybe read up on or review the symptoms of and problems with co-dependency.  If you have any ideas that you shouldn't be happy unless your oldest child there is also happy, step out of that little dark cloud!  The other kids need you.

Also, don't blame a depressed or reluctant kid for bringing down the mood.  Trees cast shade, but they're easy to live under, with and around. :-)  Sometimes the shade is wonderful.  

 

The big dark covid cloud is doing physical and psychic damage, but just like with anything else, the choices I make in the moment don't change covid, but they change my husband's life, and mine, my cats' lives sometimes.  My grown kids' lives a bit, and my grandkids' lives some!    

Nobody can fix everything, but anyone make a moment better for someone (or a cat, maybe).

 

Sandra


Sadie Bugni
 

-“Also, don't blame a depressed or reluctant kid for bringing down the mood.”-

This is super important! I have 2 teens that became very sick as younger teens which caused depression in both. Even to this day, years later, they both feel guilt for possibly holding us back from doing things because they physically and mentally couldn’t. We went out of our way to make sure they knew we didn’t feel that way and they still felt it.

Sadie Bugni

On Feb 10, 2022, at 7:04 PM, Sandra Dodd <aelflaed@...> wrote:

Also, don't blame a depressed or reluctant kid for bringing down the mood.


Sandra Dodd
 

From the anonymous mom who sent the questions in the first place—FEEDBACK, updates and thanks

___________________________________

First of all, thank you all so much for your thoughts and ideas!  I have a *lot* to think on at this point.  I wanted to touch on some things specifically.
 
 
Sandra wrote to me about "not just lack-of-mental-illness, but *health*"," and it reminded me of a book I'd read recently that said when you fix all the mental illness in someone, you don't necessarily have a happy, healthy person; you have an EMPTY person.  It reflects so much on where we are right now with my oldest:  nowhere near where we WERE, but not yet happy and healthy; empty.  I'm hoping we can walk together in the right direction. <3
 
 
From Debbie:  "There is a bit of fretfulness coming through in the original post." You are absolutely right that I am sometimes veering into "fretful," and honestly sometimes into "frustrated."  I feel like I've given him choices and he keeps making decisions that take him further into the void instead of out of it, and I find myself worried and frustrated.  That's why I'm trying to spend time soaking up words from the "Peace"-related pages on Sandra's site, so I can be in a good place not only when I interact with him but also for my other two.  I know in my head that I can't control/change him, I can only work on me, so I'm trying to let go.  (Though it's frustrating sometimes, watching the choices he makes!)
 
 
Related to Karen's post:  he is definitely an introvert and I am, too--I'm content with that aspect of his personality (tho, interestingly, I wonder if *he* is.....)  I've read Quiet and recommended it to him; he'd probably be better with watching the TED talk. ;)  "For all three of us, with depression, distraction helps"  I'm going to try to find a distraction that actually appeals to him.  That might take some digging but I think it would be worth it.
 
 
Belinda wrote her daughter's comment that "if one perceives that the happiness of another person is depending on your own happiness, the pressure is huge and debilitating. She thinks that seeing the mum enjoying the other children and enjoying herself will be a relief to the eldest, not an insult. That the mum will do everyone a favour by keeping a light touch and enjoying life as much as possible."  This is HUGE for me and something I've been really dealing with lately.  I grew up with the phrase "a mom is only as happy as her unhappiest child," and it wasn't until I was in my 40's that I went "wait, WHAT?  THAT'S not healthy."  Add to that the fact that a lot in my life right now is really draining (even disregarding the situation with my oldest); I realized that I need to be really careful with myself (for lack of a better phrase) to stay healthy and happy for my youngest.  
 
 
I did laugh at the "pink lady apples" reference:  I literally buy a bag of pink lady apples at the store every week just for him, and slice one up for him every day when I make lunch for my youngest.  I thought it was fun that of all the ideas she could have, it was about pink lady apples.  :)
 
 
Sandra, this was comforting:  "Hearing happy sounds outside can be good.  If the other kids are happy, and the mom is singing or humming or joking or laughing, and if I were in a dark room brooding, it would make me feel better."  He spends a LOT of time in his room brooding (thankfully not in the dark anymore; he's taken to opening his blinds--an interesting side-effect of three days spent in inpatient treatment where he couldn't see out the windows) and I always feel like we must be irritating him.  Because we ARE happy, out here, and my girls can be LOUD sometimes, and I have this idea that we're making him crazy.  But maybe it's a comfort to hear us, and I'm going to choose to look at it that way from now on.
 
 
I've already touched on your idea about "If you have any ideas that you shouldn't be happy unless your oldest child there is also happy, step out of that little dark cloud!  The other kids need you."  YES.  Yes, they do.  My youngest is 8--she needs her mama to BE there and not be exhausted and drained.  
 
 
"Also, don't blame a depressed or reluctant kid for bringing down the mood.  Trees cast shade, but they're easy to live under, with and around. :-)  Sometimes the shade is wonderful."  I love this so much.  We can live together without him needing to affect us....and maybe (hopefully) we will affect him.
 
 
Thank you ALL so, so much for such *full* lists of ideas.  I feel like I can "do something" on my end, even if I can't actually *make him change.*  I feel less helpless.
 
 
Side note:  While everyone else was entering lockdown in 2020, my son finally started emerging from the isolation that he'd created for himself.  He is going out with friends frequently, in spite of the covid-craziness (we live in a pretty relaxed state; we're doing All The Things, just with masks lol).  He has very *few* friends, but that's always been his nature.  He attends a support group for teens with anxiety and depression once a week and sees his people, and then gets together probably three times a week outside of that with two guys from the group. His depression began well before Covid/lockdown, but interestingly he's had more of a social life during the pandemic than he did before!
 
 
Again, thanks for listening, and for so many thoughts shared,


Sandra Dodd
 
Edited

I'm in New Mexico, where a lot of teens drive early—at 15 or 16.  Early compared to some other places.

IF the oldest is a driver, and willing to get out, maybe errands would help.  He'd still be alone, but would be doing something useful and mature.  "We need milk and cat food," or "Could you go and get chicken nuggets and fries, enough for all of us?" or whatever might work.  [Apologies to vegans for all the milk and chicken nugget thoughts that come normally to me.]

That's distraction, but it's also a way to kind of... throw the dice again; to reset the relative positions of all the people involved. 

If you could find a few very adult things like that, for him to do, don't forget to do some sweet-to-inner-child things too, though.  Favorite snack in a monkey-platter delivery, or a new water bottle with a color or texture or art you think he'd like.  Ice water in it.  A t-shirt with a game or cartoon character he loved when he was nine years old.

 

The ice water and textured bottle idea, and the changing up of who's in the house, seem to be coming (for me)  from the sort of routine-breaking differences that have helped me de-funk or cheer up when I felt I was sinking into a routine of "life is wrong" thoughts and increasing inactivity.  Sometimes what gets my own attention is something new and different to play with—in my hands.   Sometimes I found something, but sometimes someone happened to give me something or bring something over, that had a texture worth feeling or touching, or my granddaughter made slime and I played with her, with it.  Or the cat had a sticker, and I ended up checking the whole cat which turned into a kitty massage session that soothed the cat and me both.

 

Somewhere there was a meme going around that handcrafts or needlework specifically maybe was really good therapy.  Maybe more for women than men, or maybe not.  

If money isn't too tight, maybe something like new towels in the bathroom he uses—fluffier, colorful (or really white, if that's his personality, to have clinically sanitary stuff/colors).  A new pillow (but don't take away his old one), or blanket (ditto on the old one).

 

Not all of that at once, but the thing could serve as distraction and physically calming.... something I don't know the words for.

 

Sandra

 


--
(If this doesn't look like Sandra Dodd's e-mail, it is one.  "AElflaed" is my medieval-studies/SCA name.)


BRIAN POLIKOWSKY
 

I really love all the little things Sadie listed.
I try to do those with my daughter that has depression and anxiety.
You added even more things for me to pay attention to!

Long story short, she was unschooled until 7th grade and then decided to go to school.
She would be in 10th grade now and just came back home so she is now decompressing from all the school dynamics and pressures.
Deschooling for the first time!
The last 3 years have been hard specially the last one and a half after The pandemic started.

She just turned 16 and she tells me often if she did not have such an awesome mom like me she would have already killed herself.

Keeping her fed has always been a struggle. If she gets hungry she can melt down quick. She rarely eats any meat and does not like things like peanut butter so keeping her protein intake to help with mood changes sometimes takes me being very proactive.

We have tried two therapist for months but she has not really opened up to either. We are going to look for another.

She did a study at Mayo Clinic for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for teens and that helped with the depression but not anxiety . The depression now is back very strong a year later.
I am just so so thankful she decided to come home because the anxiety cause by school, because she is a high achiever , was tremendous and just pushed her down so much.

We have a great and very open communication.
Having said that I try not to focus too much on the downs and try to make her life Less stressful, lighter, brighter, with more laughs abs joy, and supporting interests she has.

Remember that depression , if not situational, is mostly a chemical imbalance in the brain.
The difference is that with unschooling , and having a partnership with your child, you can make their environment at home better.
More kindness towards them, less pressures can help anyone already feeling depressed.

I also share what works for me and we talk about finding ways to cope.

I am going to ramble now. I have not written in years.
I hope it helps. This is a great thread for me.

Alex P

On Feb 10, 2022, at 8:15 PM, Sadie Bugni <lotsagr8kidz@...> wrote:

-“Also, don't blame a depressed or reluctant kid for bringing down the mood.”-

This is super important! I have 2 teens that became very sick as younger teens which caused depression in both. Even to this day, years later, they both feel guilt for possibly holding us back from doing things because they physically and mentally couldn’t. We went out of our way to make sure they knew we didn’t feel that way and they still felt it.

Sadie Bugni
On Feb 10, 2022, at 7:04 PM, Sandra Dodd <aelflaed@...> wrote:

Also, don't blame a depressed or reluctant kid for bringing down the mood.




Sandra Dodd
 

Saw this and thought of this topic, and of all mothers of teen boys, past present and future.




Sandra Dodd
 

I had linked this from my page called Mental Health.  It said      

Dealing with others' depression? just a few ideas

https://sandradodd.com/depression.html

That link goes right back to the mental health page, and though some of the links are too close together on a phone, and it might not be as well formatted for phones as it might be in the future....   if you need it, use a computer.  

There are ideas from lots of unschoolers, and some outside sources, about mental health (happy, robust, actual HEALTH) and about depression.

I invite and remind all of you to spend some time following topics and links on my site, or from and within Just Add Light and Stir, to keep yourself up top and bright, if you need any help.

 

Today in an e-mail from someone I know personally, an unschooler far from me, though, something worth sharing:

Unschooling, and really understanding it, changed all of our lives so profoundly in so many ways. It's so, so much more than a way of home educating children and I think, until you understand that, you will never really get it. It's a philosophy for life that has stayed with me in my work, as a manager, as a lecturer, as a friend...everything. So thank you!